MEAC Preview 2015-16

1.      Hampton
2.      Norfolk St.
3.      Howard
4.      NC Central
5.      South Carolina St.
6.      Maryland-Eastern Shore
7.      Morgan St.
8.      North Carolina A&T
9.      Bethune-Cookman
10.   Savannah St.
11.   Delaware St.
12.   Coppin St.
13.   Florida A&M

Another conference where the team that won the tourney berth probably brings back the most talent, the MEAC is, despite that fact, still pretty open. Hampton went 8-8 and won the conference tournament last year, proving just how much of a crapshoot those really are. Don’t get me wrong, Hampton was (and is) a talented squad, but after the way NC Central so thoroughly dominated the league last year, it was a shame to not see that team get a chance to play in the Big Dance. And when I say dominate, I mean it – NC Central was 92 spots ahead of the next best team in the league in Pomeroy’s ranks, finishing with the 3rd best offense (narrowly) and the number 1 defense. Playing at a glacial pace can leave a team open to upsets (less possessions = less chances for the talent gap to assert itself), though, and Delaware State was able to pull the upset in Norfolk, VA.

Central loses a ton of production from that team – hence the wide open nature of the conference. Hampton brings back 4 of 5 starters and another 20mpg guy, and the team’s superb defense (especially on the interior – second in block rate, first in defensive rebound %) should continue with the lack of roster turnover. There’s a reason they went 8-8, though – they don’t have many good shooters.

Norfolk State and Howard each have Player of the Year candidates to build around – Norfolk’s Jeff Short is a more efficient, versatile scorer, while Howard’s James Daniel is a tiny chucker who could lead the nation in possessions used this year. If he shoots with any modicum of efficiency (he didn’t really last year), his production will be impressive enough to merit consideration.

Central will rely heavily on lone returning starter Dante Holmes, with FGCU transfer Dajuan Graf and medical redshirt returnee Jay Copeland providing surprisingly effective surrounding pieces. With so much lost, though, the defense will probably regress enough to pull NCCU off the conference pedestal.

I have a soft spot for Bethune-Cookman due to their tiny point guard, Ricky Johnson, sharing a name with one of my favorite Backyard Baseball/Soccer/etc. characters. If their 3 transfers (Moody, Smith, Potts) can gel with Johnson prior to the conference season, they’ll be a tough out.

As much fun as the competition at the top will be, Florida A&M and Coppin State battling to avoid being bottom 3 teams in Division 1 will also be entertaining in itself. FAMU finished 350th in Pomeroy last year, and of the 7 returners who played meaningful minutes last year, no one had an O-rtg over 79.1 (!!!!!!!). Their best player, Jermaine Ruttley, transferred to Arkansas-Little Rock. Coppin State, on the other hand, returns one real contributor; the rest of the rotation will be lowly-regarded freshmen and junior college transfers.

In a league with several blah contenders, I’ll stick with Coach Edward Joyner’s team, who look to build off their strong finish to last season.

All Conference:

POY: Jeff Short, Senior, Norfolk St.
Coach of the Year: Kevin Nickelberry, Howard
Newcomer of the Year: Mario Moody, R-Senior, Bethune-Cookman

First team
G – James Daniel, Junior, Howard
G – Reggie Johnson, Senior, Hampton
G – Jeff Short, Senior, Norfolk St.
F – Dwight Meikle, Senior, Hampton
F – Bruce Beckford, Senior, North Carolina A&T

Second team
G – Dante Holmes, Senior, NC Central
G – D’Shon Taylor, Senior, Norfolk St.
G – Edward Stephens, Sophomore, South Carolina St.
G/F – Devin Martin, Senior, Maryland-Eastern Shore
F – Cedric Blossom, Senior, Morgan St.

Third team
G – Ricky Johnson, R-Senior, Bethune-Cookman
G – D’Andre Haywood, Junior, Delaware St.
G – Christian Kessee, Junior, Coppin St.
F –  Prince Okoroh, R-Senior, Howard
F – Quinton Chievous, Senior, Hampton


1.      Hampton
C - Jervon Pressley, 6‘8, Senior
PF – Dwight Meikle, 6‘7, Senior
SF – Quinton Chievous, 6‘6, Senior
SG – Brian Darden, 6‘2, Senior
PG – Reginald Johnson, 6‘2, Senior
Reserves: Charlies Wilson-Fisher, 6‘9, So.; Lawrence Cooks, 6‘1, Jr.; Dionte Adams, 6‘7, Sr.; Breon Key, 6‘2, Sr.; Phillip Reed, 6’10, Jr.; Imani Miller, R-Fr.; Akim Mitchell, 6‘5, Fr.
Postseason Prediction: 16 seed

2.      Norfolk St.
C – Jordan Butler, 6‘6, Sophomore
PF – Malik Gray, 6‘6, Sophomore
SF – D’Shon Taylor, 6‘5, Senior
SG – Jeff Short, 6‘4, Senior
PG – Zaynah Robinson, 5’11, Sophomore
Reserves: Brian Kelley, 5’10, Jr.; Charles Oliver, 6‘3, R-Sr.; Alex Long, 6‘8, Fr.; Preston Bungei, 6‘6, Jr.; Moses Toriola, 6’10, Fr.
Postseason Prediction:

3.      Howard
C – Oliver Ellison, 6’10, Senior
PF – Solomon Mangham, 6‘6, Junior
SF – Damon Collins, 6‘5, Junior
SG – James Miller, 6‘4, Junior
PG – James Daniel, 5’10, Junior
Reserves: Tyler Stone, 6‘7, Jr.; Marcel Boyd, 6’10, Jr.; Keon Hill, 5‘9, Jr.; Brandon Ford, 6‘3, Sr.; Jalen Jones, 6‘3, R-Fr.
Postseason Prediction:

4.      NC Central
C – Jay Copeland, 6‘7, R-Senior
PF – Jeremiah Ingram, 6‘7, Senior
SF – Jamal Ferguson, 6‘5, Junior
SG – Dante Holmes, 6‘3, Senior
PG – Dajuan Graf, 6‘0, R-Junior
Reserves: Patrick Cole, 6‘5, Jr.; CJ Wiggins, 5’11, Fr.; AJ Lynch, 6‘2, Jr.; Kyle Benton, 6‘6, Jr.; Jeremiah Worthem, 6‘7, Jr.; Nate Maxey, 6’11, Sr.; Enoch Hood, 6‘9, Sr.
Postseason Prediction:

5.      South Carolina St.
C – Daryll Palmer, 6‘8, Senior
PF – Tashombe Riley, 6‘7, Sophomore
SF – Greg Mortimer, 6‘3, Junior
SG – Edward Stephens, 6‘2, Sophomore
PG – Jalen White, 6‘1, Junior
Reserves: Gabe McCray, 6‘7, Sr.; Ty Soloman, 5’10, So.; Mikael Donaldson, 6‘6, Jr.; Luka Radovic, 6‘9, R-Sr.; Jaylen Reid, 6‘7, Jr.; EJ Eaves, 6‘3, Jr.
Postseason Prediction:

6.      Maryland-Eastern Shore
C – Dominique Elliott, 6‘8, Senior
PF – Devin Martin, 6‘4, Senior
SF – Ryan Andino, 6‘2, Sophomore
SG – Ahmad Frost, 6‘1, Fr.eshman
PG – Thomas Rivera, 6‘0, Junior
Reserves: Mark Blackmon, 5‘9, Jr.; Shane Randall, 6‘5, So.; Bakari Copeland, 6‘6, Jr.; Joshu’a Warren, 6‘8, Jr.; Dontae Caldwell, 6‘4, Fr.; Derrico Peck, 6‘7, Jr.; Issac Taylor, 6‘9, Fr.
Postseason Prediction:

7.      Morgan St.
C – Cliff Cornish, 6‘8, R-Junior
PF – Cedric Blossom, 6‘6, Senior
SF – Andrew Hampton, 6‘4, Junior
SG – Antonio Gillespie, 6‘1, Freshman
PG – Donte Pretlow, 6‘0, Senior
Reserves: Rasean Simpson, 6‘5, Sr.; Kyle Thomas, 6‘7, Jr.; Jamar Redmond, 6‘3, So.; Andrew Horne, 6‘3, Jr.; Phillip Carr, 6‘7, So.; Martez Cameron, 5’11, Fr.; Torin Childs-Harris, 6‘4, Jr.
Postseason Prediction:

8.      NC A&T
C – Mike Owona, 6‘9, Junior
PF – Bruce Beckford, 6‘7, Senior
SF – Khary Doby, 6‘6, Junior
SG – Ahmad Abdullah, 6‘0, Senior
PG – Sam Hunt, 6‘2, R-Sophomore
Reserves: Arturs Bremers, 6‘3, Sr.; James Whittaker, 6‘5, So.; Denzel Keyes, 6‘4, Jr.; Austin Williams, 6‘1, So.; Jamin Lackey, 6‘9, R-So.; Ede Egharevba, 6‘6, R-Sr.; Steven Burroughs, 6‘9, So.
Postseason Prediction:

9.      Bethune-Cookman
C – LaRon Smith, 6‘8, R-Junior
PF – Mario Moody, 6‘7, R-Senior
SF – Denzel Dulin, 6‘4, Senior
SG – Jordan Potts, 5’10, R-Junior
PG – Ricky Johnson, 5‘9, R-Senior
Reserves: Randy Holmes, 6‘5, Jr.; Marquel Ingram, 6‘2, Fr.; Diamante Lewis, 6‘3, Jr.; Josue Salaam, 6‘4, Jr.
Postseason Prediction:

10.   Savannah St.
C – Brian Person, 6‘7, Senior
PF – Javaris Jenkings, 6‘5, Junior
SF – Troyce Manassa, 6‘4, Junior
SG – Chris Martin, 6‘0, R-Senior
PG – Khalen Pinknett, 6‘2, Sophomore
Reserves: Demarcus Bryant, 6‘4, So.; Teslim Idris, 6‘6, Jr.; Casey Wells, 6‘4, Jr.; Isaiah Felder, 5’11, Fr.; Treyvon Francis, 6-2, So.; Lenjo Kilo, 6‘6, Sr.; Kamil Williams, 6‘0, Fr.
Postseason Prediction:

11.   Delaware St.
C – Mrdjan Gasevic, 6‘7, Junior
PF – DeVaughn Mallory, 6‘7, R-Freshman
SF – Kavon Waller, 6‘5, Sophomore
SG – Todd Hughes, 6‘3, Sophomore
PG – DeAndre Haywood, 6‘2, Junior
Reserves: Aric Dickerson, 6‘6, Sr.; Jason Owens, 6‘6, Sr.; Scott Sill, 6‘9, Jr.; Dana Raysor, 6‘5, So.; Jamelle Christian, 6‘1, R-Fr.; Artem Tavakalyan, 6‘6, So.; Devein Morgan, 5’10, Fr.
Postseason Prediction:

12.   Coppin St.
C – Lawrence Fejokwu, 6‘9, Senior
PF – Jeremyjah Batts, 6‘8, Junior
SF – Trevon Seymore, 6‘4, Junior
SG – Christian Kessee, 6‘2, Junior
PG – James Sylvester, 6‘0, Junior
Reserves: Terry Harris Jr., 6‘8, Jr.; Blake Simpson, 6‘7, So.; Joshua Treadwell, 6‘4, Jr.; Keith Shivers, 6‘4, Jr.; Izais Hicks, 6‘8, Jr.; Lucian Brownlee, 6‘2, Fr.; Mufaro Marinda, 6‘7, Jr.
Postseason Prediction:

13.   Florida A&M
C – Jordan Jackson, 6’10, Sophomore
PF – Trey Warren, 6‘8, Junior
SF – Malcolm Bernard, 6‘6, R-Senior
SG – Craig Bowman, 6‘3, Junior
PG – Elijah Mays, 6‘0, Junior
Reserves: Jerran Foster, 5‘9, Sr.; Jonathan Spicer, 6‘4, So.; Mario Karailiev, 6‘9, Jr.; Francois Lewis, 6‘9, Fr.; Justin Ravenal, 6‘1, Fr.; Tre Anderson, 6‘2, Fr.
Postseason Prediction: